Beech Mountain Fire Tower

img_2115-ladder-tower_shareWe learned that the Beech Mountain Fire Tower was going to have an “open house”.  It is usually closed, but a ranger would be there to answer questions and the tower would be open to look at.

Going up, the trail was easy in spots, but more difficult over rocks in places.  It was never super hard, though someone who struggles with walking would not be able to get to the tower.  It was a pretty walk and the kids all had fun running ahead.

The view from the top was pretty.  We enjoyed the scenery and talking with the ranger so much, I forgot to get a picture of the tower.

The ranger was very helpful and explained that there is not as strong a fire hazard there as in the west because they get so much rain and snow.  Because of this, the tower was only manned during the day until the mid 1970’s,  There were three fire towers that used triangulation to pinpoint where fires were.  Now the tower is  on the National Registry of Historic Fire Towers and is not used.

We took a different way to get to our car.  The way was a lot easier, but we took longer since I stopped to admire the scenery so often.

Junior Ranger Badges

Junior Ranger Patches
Junior Ranger Patches

The kids have been collecting Junior Ranger badges at every National Park we visit if we have time to work on them.  If we are just passing through, it is hard to complete the work needed properly.

In order for the children to earn their Junior Ranger badges, there are different activities to complete in a workbook.  The younger you are, the easier to earn a badge, though Megan tried to do everything in her book. They also needed to interview a ranger and attend a ranger led activity. They were able to finish both projects the first day, though it took longer to finish their books.

They also had the opportunity to earn centennial Junior Ranger Badges. There was a separate book with different activities.  The kids enjoyed working on that book also.

All of the children earned Junior Ranger patches and their centennial Junior Ranger Badges.


img_2080-birds_shareAs we explored around the coast, we enjoyed observing and listening to the waves on the rocks. We watched the seagulls and the cormorants. Â We admired how the fog changed the scenery.

It is amazing to me that God created such awesome scenery for us to enjoy.  It is easy to forget that he designed this world in the busyness of every day. I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to remember and enjoy what God created!

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

img_1734-bass-harbor-lighthouse_shareWe were told that a great place to see sunsets was Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Our campsite was a short distance away, so we went there a few times during our stay. It was a challenge getting there on time, the sun set a few minutes after 7:00 while we were in Maine. We wanted to get there earlier so we could see the sun setting.

We were disappointed the first time there because the lighthouse was behind us and there was only a short sidewalk to watch the sun setting.  The parking lot was crowded and the sidewalk lined with people watching the sun set. We wondered what was so special about the place.

The last time we went there, I was talking to a family who mentioned there was another path on the other side of the light house.  We knew we would miss the sun officially setting, but we ran around and discovered what we missed! There was a path that lead to a bunch of rocks that you could climb out on.  Depending where you stopped, you could get some wonderful pictures!


Sand Beach

img_2018-walkingWe continued walking down to Sand Beach.  The entire walk was only about a mile, but there was a lot to see and we took our time.  I noticed the leaves were starting to change colors and collected a few of the prettier ones.

Sand beach is one of the few sandy beaches in Maine.  According to the ranger, in the winter, the sand is washed away, and there is a huge gap between the last step to the beach.  Come spring, the ocean brings the sand in again.

We learned that the water rarely gets above 55 degrees F. so it is chilly year round.  However, it is a lot of fun to play in! The kids squealed and laughed as the cold waves crashed around their legs.  The waves started rises higher and no one had clothes to change into, except Megan who wore her shorts under her pants.  We did not want cold, wet children, so we reluctantly decided to leave after playing awhile.

As we walked back, the heavy fog started to lift.  As the fog lifted, many people started arriving and the mostly empty beach started to fill up for the day.

Thunder Hole

img_1896-thunder_share After watching the sun rise, we hiked to Thunder Hole. We walked since we did not want to drive all around Park Loop Road again.

Thunder Hole is neat! The waves come into the inlet in such a way, that it sounds like thunder at times. When we got there, there was another couple already there, but we had the place mostly to ourselves.

We could hear the thunder while we walked, but once we got there it was much better. We stayed and enjoyed the noise and watching the water spray for quite a long time before moving on.

On the way back to the car, there were a lot of people and the thunder was much softer. We think we missed the best noise by just a little bit.  We hoped to return another day, but we ran out of time. It is on our wish list for a future visit.

Early Morning Adventure

img_1775-sunriseWhile at the welcome center, I noticed that they were offering a sunrise ranger chat.  We were to meet twenty minutes before sunrise and then after enjoying that, a ranger would lead a discussion about the park.

We told the kids we were going for an adventure the next morning and went to bed early.  Everyone had everything they needed in the car.  Next time we plan such an early morning adventure, we will let them sleep in their clothes if they want; especially when we need to wake them at 4:30!

We were a few minutes late getting to the assigned spot.  The Park Loop Road is one way, and it took longer getting around it than we planned. However, we still were there in time to watch the sun peek over the horizon and enjoy a wonderful sunrise.

The ranger did a great job on his talk even though it was on evolution and the earth taking millions of years to form.  He was an interesting speaker. As part of question time, he asked for people to point to something and he would explain how glaciers got to the area.  Adrian pointed at the ranger and he came up with a very good story explaining the history of how everything worked (over many many years) so that he could one day work at the park.

After a beautiful sunrise, we observed the fog starting to come in.  If it had come earlier, we would have missed the sun coming up.  According to the ranger, it was the best one he had seen all summer!

Bar Harbor

img_1670-family_shareOne place we knew we all wanted to visit was Bar Harbor. We had been told that when the tide was low, you could walk across a sand bar to an island and explore the island. You had to be sure to be back before the tide came in or you would be stranded!

The bar was a lot of fun to explore.  Allan had Megan taste the water (“Yuck! Salty!”) We found lots of sea weed, a few different kinds of crabs and the best discovery was made by Audrey… a seastar!

The island was pretty also.  We took the path to the other side and looked down into the harbor.  It was a nice walk with some rocks to climb over and lots of people for Megan to say “hi” to.  She  and Adrian were a little concerned about getting back to the mainland on time, and we had fun teasing them about spending the night on the island.

The next day on the way home from the park, we stopped at Bar Harbor again, this time to show the kids what it normally looked like.

Acadia National Park

View while driving to the park

img_1548_shareWe spent most of our time in Maine exploring Acadia National Park.  It was a wonderful park and we would have loved to be able to spend more time there. There were so many neat places to see and explore.  We chose some of our favorites and the kids are already asking to go back one day.

The first day we visited the visitors center and talked with rangers, who were extremely friendly, and planned part of our visit.  We decided to drive up Cadillac Mountain and explore there.  We knew that Acadia is a very popular park, but we did not expect it to be so busy since school had started in many places.

After exploring Cadillac Mountain, we headed back toward the campground.  There were a few stops we wanted to make along the way, but we needed most of the afternoon to enjoy them.